Talks & Events 2015


Trickster Power: Misdirecting Creative Technology – Leila Johnston, Hack Circus
Palace Obscura 7pm

mepinkLeila will talk about her response to digital and the way that  ‘old fashioned’ modes (print, live shows) and their important virtues, have been almost totally muffled by digital utopianism, yet are important ways to explore speculative science, subversive tech and psychology. She will explore the essential outsider role fulfilled by the arts, drawing on her experience as an independent curator of original work and performance over the last few years. She will outline the importance of the ‘trickster’ impulse in the contemporary art scene, with examples from her network and productions which take in hacking, magic and subversive comedy. Leila’s background has taught her that artists and makers must resist and circumvent systems, and never more so than when their practice overlaps with technology – a world defined by efficiency. Decontextualising – of oneself and others – is key to her practice and to creative innovation more generally, and in discussing this, she will call for inspiration from the very original context of the wonderful surroundings of this event.

Leila Johnston is an artist, journalist and entertainer working with art and technology. She creates a quarterly live show and magazine called Hack Circus which explores ideas around speculative science, subversive tech and psychology in a fun and unique way. The increasingly immersive shows have featured time machines, artificial intelligence systems, talking volcanoes and visitors from other planets, and together with the magazine, the project has posed important questions ranging from whether we really have Free Will to how we can be sure we even exist. Leila has been a resident at the Site Gallery in Sheffield and Lighthouse in Brighton and was one of 10 innovators from around the world selected to take part in the Global Futr Labs at Future Everything in Manchester. This September, her first interactive solo show and documentary ‘How To Live Forever’ will appear at the Brighton Digital Festival and British Science Festival. She also writes books and humour, and articles for people like WIRED UK and Creative Review.

There are limited seats in the venue. To be sure of a seat, please reserve a place HERE

Cosmic visions: More than Meets the Eye – Professor Martin Hendry
Palace Obscura  8pm

Centaurus A is a bright galaxy about 13 million light years from Earth. It is the fifth brightest visible galaxy and one of the closest radio galaxies to our own. Image: composite of optical, millimetre and X-ray observations

Modern astronomy is about much more than the light our eyes can see: celestial objects emit light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to radio waves. Exploring this spectrum reveals a violent and awe-inspiring cosmos of exploding stars, colliding galaxies, even the fading echoes of the Big Bang itself.  Join Martin on a journey through the unseen cosmos.

Martin Hendry is Professor of Gravitational Astrophysics and Cosmology at the University of Glasgow, where he is also currently Head of the School of Physics and Astronomy.   Martin is a passionate enthusiast for public engagement in astronomy and was until recently a “Science in Society” Fellow for the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy, and in 2015 was awarded the MBE for services to public understanding of science.

There are limited seats in the venue. To reserve a seat please click HERE




Dark Sky Experimental Rocket Lab – Elizabeth Tindel, Dark Sky Ranger

2:30 to 3:30pm (Saturday). Meet at Dark Star Lounge

nasa-1The area where Sanctuary is happening is known for its dark night sky, with sparkling stars and the light band of our Galaxy the Milky Way to be seen on a clear night. You can try out stargazing with new Dark Sky Ranger, Elizabeth Tindal, around midnight. In case you miss her in the dark Elizabeth has also created a daytime Dark Sky Experimental Rocket Lab. This is your opportunity to join the Dark Sky Ranger, in experimenting with home made rockets. You can launch simple paper rockets, fizzing rockets and if you bring a plastic bottle with you Elizabeth will help you turn it into a rocket. There will even be a launch pad to launch these high into the sky.


Improv Workshop by Dave Fyans of Broken20

7.15pm at Broken20 HQ

bk20_finalAs part of the BrokenLight programme, Dave Fyans, Broken20’s resident art director will lead an improvisation workshop, open to all; this requires no previous experience, instruments or ability. Just bring your body (and maybe your portable radio) and work together as a group through a series of simple and enjoyable scores, devised specially for Sanctuary and along the way, explore the dynamics, thought processes, endless possibility and fun of experimental improvisation.





Sonic Bat Walk – Dumfries and Galloway Bat Group

Meet 7.30pm at Murray’s Monument Car Park

Image: Seth Tisue

Our signature neon installation, Enclosure, last year attracted hundreds of bats. Join Freda Seddon on a walk to the installation for a sonic experience using bat detectors to tune into the bats as they swoop over the installation catching insects. Dumfries and Galloway Bat Group offer activities for children and adults, bat talks and evening bat walks, as well as information and advice about bats and their roosts. For bat walks they have bat detectors,  to listen to the echolocation calls.

NB Access to the neon installation is only possible in an accompanied group



Viridian Skies – Night Photography Workshop

9pm. Meet at The Dark Star Lounge

Aurora over Lauvsnes Between dusk and dawn, Viridian Skies run workshops inspired by the clear night skies of the Galloway Dark Sky Park. These hours hold a huge amount of creative potential; the light available exists in different temperatures and quantities, the necessity for long exposures increases focus on moving objects and camera movements, external light sources can be introduced to produce interesting results.

During the Night Photography Workshop you will learn how to tap into some of this creative potential. Cameras and tripods are recommended. The light painting activity also enables those without kit to get involved.Taking inspiration from cosmic events such as star birth, the workshop will also explore the creative possibilities of light painting to visually represent these celestial phenomena. Jesse and Helen (Viridian Skies) will also be available throughout the weekend to answer any questions about night photography.

To help Viridian Skies with planning, if you wish to attend the workshop, please could you register HERE


Stargazing Walk with Prof. Martin Hendry

10pm. Meet at Dark Star Lounge

Night sky over Galloway Forest Park. Image: Visit Scotland.

In 2009, International Year of Astronomy, the Galloway Forest Park was the first park outside North America awarded “International Dark Sky Park” status.  Today the park enjoys some of the darkest skies in Europe.  Join astronomer Professor Martin Hendry for a guided tour of Galloway’s night skies, and discover the fascinating science behind familiar planets, stars and constellations.




Image:The Maxwell Torch on display at the Shetland Science and Nature Festival, July 2015

2015 is International Year of Light and marks 150 years since the ground-breaking discoveries of James Clerk Maxwell that revealed the nature of light as electromagnetic waves. To commemorate this remarkable but little-known scientist, who is truly “Scotland’s forgotten Einstein”, Institute of Physics Scotland presents the “Maxwell Torch”: a unique symbol of his achievements and scientific legacy, specially designed by Mike Stoane Lighting and powered by the very latest LED technology.